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Perceptual Organization of Visual Structure Requires a Flexible Learning Mechanism

Summary: Perceptual Organization of Visual Structure
Requires a Flexible Learning Mechanism
Richard N. Aslin
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
University of Rochester
Bhatt and Quinn (2011) provide a compelling and comprehensive review of
empirical evidence that supports the operation of principles of perceptual
organization in young infants. These principles, which are largely synony-
mous with the Gestalt laws of visual perception, raise a number of impor-
tant, and as yet unanswered questions. Bhatt and Quinn tackle some of
these questions and propose several mechanisms by which infants progress
from a few principles of perceptual organization to the full set of principles
that operate in adults.
The first question is about origins: Are any of the principles of perceptual
organization present at birth in the absence of visual experience? Although
the Gestalt psychologists assumed that all the principles of perceptual orga-
nization were innate, presumably because of evolutionary pressures to
ensure their presence in the species, these early 20th century psychologists
did not have the methods required to measure the operation of these princi-
ples in young infants. Bhatt and Quinn (2011) summarize evidence that by


Source: Aslin, Richard N. - Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester


Collections: Biology and Medicine